Day One

Day One.

I am curled up in my oversized chair, enjoying the quiet of the morning, sipping my cup of hot lemon water and wishing it were coffee.

Soon, I will brew a batch of mint green tea to drink (iced) all day, and I will wish it were coffee.

For breakfast, I will drop a landfill-bound straw into a semi-healthy, ersatz chocolate protein drink, and I will wish it were a (real) chocolate shake.

At some point during my work day, my stomach will remind me to consider lunch. I will break out the tuna I brought from home and mix in fresh tomatoes and cucumber slices, and I will wish it were all cheese.  And maybe potato chips.  Or a corn dog.  And Fritos.  Anyway…

Mid-afternoon, I will reach for a snack, find almonds, and wish they were, well, almonds! 😊

Tonight, when I sit in front of my laptop, waiting for inspiration that seems to only come when I am my happiest, (and my happiest always seems to involve coffee, alcohol, cheese and chocolate) I will munch on a salad as big as my head. I will drizzle it with honey ginger balsamic vinegar as a treat. And I will wish it were pizza.

If I make it to Day Three, I will discover that there seems to be no end to my grumpiness. Day Six?  Family and friends find that I can be a real bitch. And if I make it all the way to Day Ten, I will be home free. Suddenly, all those vegetables and protein drinks will taste delicious. I won’t wish anything were anything else. And I will rediscover my happy (non-bitchy) place.

So…knowing this…why would I have any reason to NOT hang in there until Day Ten?  The term ‘derailed’ comes to mind.

This is not my first “Day One”. Technically, I suppose I should call today “Day 428”. Or “Day One Again”.  Maybe “Day Do-Over”.  (Groundhog Day comes to mind as well, and yes, I hear Sonny and Cher singing “I Got You Babe”, but it’s been done.  I can’t lay claim to that.  And now I’m thinking about Harold Ramis.  Damn I miss him…)

I started thinking a lot about Day One’s. Fad diets. New workout programs. Plans to meet up with friends once a week. Plans to call friends and family more often.  Promises to myself to continue Tai Chi, meditation, learn a language, organize the attic, eat clean, and write.

Okay… writing. So far, I’ve managed to get to Day 83, and I’m proud of that. But I’m nervous as well. The longest I think I’ve stuck to anything is six months.

So what has derailed me in the past?

I’m a planner, and I’m good at it. But I am equally skilled in procrastination.  So just getting to Day One is a chore.  And the folly of pretending any random day can be “Day One” without a plan always results in no Day Two.

In the beginning, it’s easy to give up.  If the term “SQUIRREL!” means anything to you, then you can understand why there may be a lot of Day One’s, but less Day Four’s, and so on.  I am distracted by anything and everything distracting.  And blinders make it hard to drive, so…

Then there’s boredom.  If I make it all the way to Day 30, or 60, or 180…  what next?  The staying power is no longer fueled by excitement.  Even the progress doesn’t seem enough to keep my interest.  So now the danger lies in the haphazard distraction that comes while at dinner with a friend, or at a concert, or while traveling.  I am swayed by the memories of life before Day One.  I forget the bad, and remember the decadence.    So I indulge.  I cheat.  That’s not quitting, right?  It’s a one-time thing.  It’s also a slippery slope.  And I’ve spent a lot of time on that slope.  At last count, I’ve spent an equal amount of time sliding down as I have climbing up.

I had a conversation yesterday with a young friend who just started a new job.  As she talked about it, her eyes sparkled, and she practically bubbled with the news. This came one day after learning that Doofenshmirtz also got a new job. And two days after the exciting news that Skotchdopole and Derwood (my son-in-law) signed the paperwork on a new house. Saturday will be Day One of married life for one of my nieces.  Three of my nieces and two of my good friends have recently celebrated Day One of motherhood. My niece AJ will experience Day One at college this fall.

So many Day Ones.

Each time I begin something new, I have less and less faith that I will finish it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t WANT to be faithless, but history has a sneaky way of repeating itself. If anyone reading this is surprised by my negativity, don’t be. I’m positive. Positive that I will probably not get to Day Four. (ha ha! See what I did there?). But seriously, I am not giving up. I won’t. I don’t think there’s “giving up” in me.  But there is, it seems, a “derailed”.

But at age 53…

Okay, I need to pause and ramble about this for a moment.  Surprised?  Commencing digression:

Turning 30 didn’t bother me, although so many people sent me huge bouquets of flowers that my apartment looked like someone had died!

Turning 40 wasn’t bad. It was weird. I was in between a lot of things. Someone I considered to be a good friend turned out to not know the meaning of friendship. I think that may have been the first time my heart was broken by a friend. Not the last, but I think the first hurts the worst. It was also when I discovered that just because I would drop everything when friends needed me, they would not necessarily do the same. The most unlikely person dropped what she was doing and flew to Vegas to celebrate my 40th with me when no one else would. Crazy how that happens.   To illustrate just how unlikely a person she was, I haven’t heard from her since that trip.  But I know I’m still in her phone, because she butt-dialed me earlier this year.  She was trying to contact her son’s girlfriend’s mom to tell her their cat had died.  THIS was the person who showed up for me 13 years ago.  I also got texts from people on my 40th who I hadn’t heard from in a very long time, and it was a lovely surprise to know they remembered my birthday.  So all in all, I didn’t feel old… I just felt a great disturbance in the (friend) force.

Turning 50 didn’t phase me at all. It was just a day. Family and friends made a big deal, but really, I was fine.

But 53 is kicking my ass. I don’t even know why. It feels like the end. Like this is old. Really old. And I sit back and look at that number, and it’s not an old number.  But I feel ancient. I suppose I can trace it back to last September. But youthful exuberance seems to have been replaced with, I don’t know… complacency? Resignation? I am happy. I am mellow. More mellow than I’ve ever been. I’m not certain I like “mellow”.  I want to be a puppy. I want to jump up and down and wriggle with excitement and pee on the floor a little (yes, I get the irony of aging and wanting to pee the floor).  But I can’t seem to connect to my puppy days as easily (except for the peeing thing, which I’m sure lies in my not-so-distant future).  So, as I was saying before I so rudely interrupted myself…

But at age 53…  I wonder how many Day One’s I have left in me?